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Water Integrity as an Opportunity: The Relation between Climate Change Finance and the Water Sector

woman carrying water jug, knee deep in swirling water
Sinking Sundarbans - Supratim Bhattacharjee - WIN photo competition 2019

Global climate change finance flows are expected to increase over the next few years in response to climate change. As these funds will be channeled through relatively untested funding sources, existing corruption risks from the water sector and broadly in climate change finance need to be better understood.

This policy brief provides an overview of challenges and opportunities concerning corruption in the wa­ter sector in the context of climate change finance. It addresses policy makers and practitioners from both sectors.

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The policy brief was drafted based on a literature review and interviews with experts from international and civil society organizations as well as implementing entities.

To promote greater responsibility and accountability in climate finance, this policy brief makes a number of recommendations:

  • In the context of multilateral climate funds, national designated authorities and accredited entities should improve their respective capacities in order to strengthen integrity and address specific corruption risks. A zero-tolerance approach and targeted climate finance readiness support can positively affect projects related to the watersector.

  • Strengthening participation of vulnerable communities and civil society in prioritization, planning and implementation of projects could reinforce their role concerning oversight.

  • The climate finance architecture in many countries, as well as globally, is still under development. This provides an opportunity to consider some of the best practices and to undertake early measures to curb corruption and strengthen integrity.

  • Development partners are encouraged to continue demanding high standards of accountability and transparency from their partners and support capacity building, e.g. through South-South learning on integrity approaches.

  • Both climate change finance and the water sector can draw on different tools, approaches and experiences concerning the prevention of corruption. Thus, both can benefit from each other’s expertise.


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